2012 February | Federated Search BlogFederated Search

Archive for February, 2012

18
Feb

The Harvard Library Innovation Laboratory at the Harvard Law School posted a link to a 23-minute podcast interview with Sebastian Hammer. Hammer is the president of Index Data, a company in the information retrieval space, including federated search.

Update 4/3/12: A transcript of the interview is here.

Hammer was interviewed about the challenges of federated search, which he addressed in a very balanced way. The gist of Hammer’s message is that, yes, there are challenges to the technology but they’re not insurmountable. And, without using the word “discovery service,” Hammer did a fine job of explaining that large indexes are an important component of a search solution but they’re not the entire solution, especially in organizations that have highly specialized sources they need access to.

I was delighted to hear Hammer mention the idea of “super nodes” to allow federated search to scale to thousands of sources. Blog sponsor Deep Web Technologies has used this idea, which they call hierarchical federated search for several years. Several of their applications search other applications which can, in turn, search other applications. In 2009, Deep Web Technologies founder and president Abe Lederman delivered a talk and presented a paper at SLA,
Science Research: Journey to Ten Thousand Source, detailing his company’s proven “divide-and-conquer” approach to federating federations of sources.

I was also happy to hear Hammer speak to the importance of hybrid solutions. Federation is appropriate for gaining access to some content and maintaining a local index works for other content. Neither alone is a complete solution. Deep Web Technologies figured this out some years ago. A good example of hybrid search technology is the E-print Network, a product of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information, (OSTI). Deep Web Technologies built the search technology, which combines information about millions of documents crawled from over 30,000 sites, with federated content. I have been involved with the crawl piece of the E-print Network for a number of years and can testify to the power of the right hybrid solution. In 2008 I wrote a three-part series of articles at OSTI’s blog explaining the technology behind the E-print Network. Part One is here.

In conclusion, I highly recommend the podcast for a good reminder that federated search isn’t dead and that it’s an important part of search.

14
Feb

Deep Web Technologies president, founder, and CTO Abe Lederman shares some thoughts on discovery services at the Deep Web Technologies Blog.

5
Feb

Multilingual federated search, the ability to search and to view results from foreign language sources in your own language, may be just an interesting idea to some but there is a strategic value to the technology. Consider this article published by the BBC in March of 2011: China ‘to overtake US on science’ in two years. If the prediction of the UK’s national science academy, the Royal Society, proves true then sometime next year China will produce scientific research papers at a faster rate than the current leader, the U.S.

Researchers in the English-speaking world have mostly been restricted to searching only English language sources since the tools for simultaneously searching foreign language sources and for performing the translations haven’t existed until recently. Thus, opportunities to search scholarly journals in Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and other languages associated with countries producing a great volume of science output are being missed. In an economic climate where performing research and getting products to market quickly translates to that competitive edge that leads to greater profits, being able to scour the research Web quickly, effectively, efficiently, and on an ongoing basis is critical to developing and maintaining a competitive edge.

Blog sponsor Deep Web Technologies has developed a patent pending multilingual search version of its Explorit federated search application that integrates the search and translation technologies making for a seamless and productive research environment for scientists, engineers, and researchers in business, science, and technology.

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